Crosscut (Opinion): To solve WA’s measles epidemic, look to Africa

by Emily Bancroft / February 1, 2019

As a mom who spends most of her waking hours thinking about how to improve health around the world, I’ve never thought twice about whether I vaccinate my son. I know that not all of my neighbors in the Seattle area feel this way, but the decision for me is rational. Vaccines are safe, they prevent disease, and they are relatively low cost and easy to obtain.

It may be easier when, in my work with a nonprofit dealing with health systems in Africa, we are reminded constantly that deaths of children under 5 have dropped nearly 60 percent worldwide since 1990, and vaccines are a major contributor to this progress.

Yet Washington state suffers one of the lowest measles vaccination rates in the United States – below that of many low- and middle-income countries. Last Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to more than two dozen confirmed cases of measles in our state.

Read more: